With the holiday season slowly but surely arriving and the long wind down to the big day itself beginning to unfold, we can be forgiven for looking for an escape destination to enjoy the holiday season in, whilst traveling the globe. This blog post aims to find you the perfect European getaway during the Holiday Season, combining fun, entertainment and relaxation- and of course Christmas refreshments and plenty of them!
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Want to sample a traditional German Christmas Market in a traditional German town with idyllic surroundings? It’s time to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber! Located in the heart of Bavaria, Rothenburg ob der Tauber houses a traditional German Market set in the backdrop of the City Hall and a Church (or Kirche as it is known locally!), these quaint surroundings make for the perfect photo opportunity so remember your camera! Whilst the Christmas Market itself, isn’t as large scale as other German Markets in the seemingly far larger cities of Munich or Cologne- Rothenburg ob der Tauber still provides still provides all the usual Christmas Market festivities. What’s more it does so without the strenuous long distance walk from one end to the other- leaving more time for eating and drinking, how considerate! Rothenburg ob der Tauber, (that’s becoming quite repetitive, we’ll call it Rothenburg for short!), Rothenburg, has a history dating back to the medieval period- with many medieval buildings and features remaining untouched and well preserved! So having refueled your energy with many festive delights, take a leisurely stroll around the town walls and the iconic defense tower. Or for the reminiscent individuals amongst you, follow in the footsteps of Dick Van Dyke and explore the fictional ‘Vulgaria’ setting seen during the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang film! With such variety offered in Rothenburg, there really is something for everyone!
Manchester, United Kingdom: Whilst not as widely exposed and recognised as many of their mainland European counterparts many of the UK’s Christmas Markets often fall under the radar by comparison. Located in the North West of England, Manchester is home to the UK’s first wide scale Christmas Market opening in 1999. Eighteen years on and the Manchester Christmas Markets now house more than 300 stalls ranging from art and crafts to clothing and jewelry outlets to global and local food stalls. Additionally, the Christmas Markets are well connected to Manchester’s extensive transport network, with St Peter’s Square tram stop located within close proximity- meaning visitors can enjoy a few Steins or a glass or two of Gluhwein. But remember, as the famous saying goes, don’t drink and drive! Aside from the Christmas Markets, a trip to Manchester wouldn’t be complete without a taste of the cities football obsessed culture; the city is home to the world famous football club, Manchester United. The three times European Champions, offer Stadium experiences and tours at their home ground, Old Trafford, throughout the week. But if you’re lucky enough to be in Manchester on a matchday- it would be rude not to take in a match! Additionally if you’re looking to sample some Mancunian history, head to the Lowry, which alongside two theatres houses a range of galleries including the works of its namesake L.S. Lowry, whose matchstick paintings depicted working class life in Manchester throughout the 20th century.
Lapland, Finland: Somewhat a given at Christmas time! Release your inner child (we’ve all got one!), indulge in Christmas spirit and relive forgone Christmas memories of yore! Lapland provides the opportunity for you to visit Father Christmas (and yes it is the real one!) in his humble abode, providing children and adults alike a first rate, non-comparable Christmas experience. If you’re traveling with young children visiting Lapland’s Santa experience is a must, with the minds of 4-8 year olds at the peak of encapsulating enchantment! But it would be incredibly naïve to think visiting Santa is Lapland’s main offering- admittedly I did at first glance, so I guess you could be forgiven! The Scandinavian destination also offers plenty for the adrenalin junkies out there, why not try your hand at Snowmobiling through mile after mile of snow passages deep in the woodland. Or why not experience a bit of local culture whilst still releasing that adrenalin, enjoy a husky sled ride through similar routes! Whichever activity you chose or whether you opt for both, Lapland provides visitors with multiple wind down options, from enjoying a drink or three in the ICEBAR, to catching a well-earned 40 winks in the ICEHOTEL- Lapland has got covered and caters for people of all ages and interests!
Copenhagen, Denmark: A visit to the Danish capital is a must during the Holiday Season with no festive trimming spared. The Tivoli Gardens in the city centre are adorned with a spectacular array of Christmas lights and thousands of Christmas trees pave the way around the Christmas Market with over 60 stalls. Each of which provide plenty of Christmas treats- so you can return home with gifts and delicacies, to ensure those who missed out on a trip to Copenhagen aren’t too jealous. Tivoli Gardens also caters for the thrill seekers, housing an amusement park with 27 attractions. Although for those enjoying the rides after the Christmas Markets, it might be wise to take it easy on the Christmas treats before braving the Spinning Top! Despite Tivoli Gardens bringing multitudes of Christmas entertainment, this is merely the beginning for Copenhagen’s Holiday Season offerings! Located on Copenhagen’s harbour side Nyhavn, renowned for its vast array of colorful buildings also transforms into an all things Christmas area during the Winter season. Whilst Nyhavn provides your usual Christmas Market attractions and offerings, the district goes one step beyond allowing you to meet and interact with animals- including the former Carlsberg Brewery Horses and the namely Nyhavn Pixies (they’re actually Ponies!). Denmark as a nation is world renowned for its pastries, for those of you with a sweet tooth or those looking to indulge in Danish cuisine whilst visiting Copenhagen- you’ll be pleased to know you’re never too far away from the scent of pastry or a bakery. With that said, you won’t need reminding (but here’s a reminder just in case), make sure you sample some traditional Danish pastry during your stay!